East 12th Street, corner of Broadway, Greenwich Village

Piola is a blithe reminder that you needn’t adjust quality standards, nor call in the “portion-police” in order to heed these cost-conscious times.

Pizza Antica

Pizza Antica

Located within a four block radius of NYU and Union Square, this delightful Italian pizza chain offers simple culinary pleasures, cheerful decor, friendly service and low prices.  These factors combined make it a great gastronomic restoration site for sleep-deprived students, pooped out Holiday Market shoppers and friends who want to catch up over a satisfying, stress-free meal.

Their perfectly, individually sized thin crust pizzas trigger watery sensations in my mouth at any time of the day. Made with fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce and basil, without mozzarella, the pizza antica I ordered was light, crust thin but robust enough to hold up to the weight of the fresh, deliciously seasoned sauce and toppings.

The penne rosate, prepared with smoked salmon, cream and tomato sauce were al dente and the sauce had a creamy consistency that deliciously sheathed the pasta without overpowering it. The portion is large enough that it could easily be a shared main course.

Penne Rosate

Penne Rosate

A meal consisting of the bicolore salad, the two entrees above and with three glasses a dessert of apple pie and vanilla ice cream and three glasses of Pinot Grigio wine cost my guest and me approx. $55, with a 20% coupon that the servers at Piola liberally distribute and not including tip.

All in all: A casual place where food is soundly above average. Tabs are small. Pizza menu is vast. Salads are abundant, inspired and fresh. Desserts are good and humongous. What’s not to like? The constant flow of hip, Italian expats give this place a definitive nod.

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